Friday, 6 January 2012

Lily's Friday Prediction

A record number of Prediction Challenge entries for the first week of 2012! Well done everyone.

I hope you all have a successful writing year and that it brings you good health and happiness. It's not just me - but there seems to be a shift this year, in attitudes and intentions. Not your usual New Year's resolutions but a general feeling of 'I'm not putting up with this anymore' and of taking more control of our own futures. Like Ttofee's victim in last week's challenge, a finger up to the world that tries to tell us what to do.

Winner of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

I feel as though you have all beaten me around the head with pens, pencils, quills and a multitude of digits. How will I ever choose a winning entry from this amazing, brilliantly-written lot...?

But I have.

My winner is Aidan Fritz with the chilling, post-virus tale Daredevil. It really got into my bones and I loved the delivery and language. Congratulations Aidan!

I have two runners-up because I truly could not choose between them. First runner-up is Nathaniel Tower with Late Nights and Bloody Knuckles - lots of gasp-making twists in this gruesome story. Joint runner-up is Mr Col Bury himself with AGAIN. I was blown away by the telling of this tale and reactions of the killer; horribly disturbing. Well done both!

Words for 06 January 2012

  • London
  • Sham
  • Collect
    (Collection/Collector etc and all forms/tenses of the verb are acceptable)

Enjoy getting your synapses around those.


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 12th January 2012 to enter.

Winner will be announced on Friday 13th January (what a day!) If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Let's start the year in the most wicked way you can think of... Fiction only - of course.


  1. Well done Aidan! And Nathaniel and Col, 'bloody' good stories!

  2. Thanks, Kim, and Lil of course.

    Thrilled with this, especially since each and every story was of such a high standard.

    Congrats to Aidan and Nathaniel.


  3. Congrats Aidan, Nathaniel and Col. Great stories and amongst such stiff competition.

    Well looks like I am first for once so here goes....


    It was one big sham, the three of us sitting there playing happy families, pretending nothing was wrong.

    Dad rolled the dice and moved his dog, showing it London’s sights, before landing on Community Chest.

    “Go directly to jail, do not collect £200.”

    “I can’t fucking do this anymore!”

    “Watch your mouth Susan” snapped Mum.

    “Maybe you should watch yours!”


    “You heard, I saw what Mr Wilson was putting in it when you thought I was out.”

    Dad stared at us then shuffled to the kitchen.

    I screamed at the glint in his hand as he came back in....

    1. Nasty, and very dark hearted. I see this as part of a longer story that has built for some time.

  4. Hi there, I have been reading this with interest and thought I would give it a go.

    Out in the Sticks

    Those London boys think they have things sussed with their ‘bling’ and their sham talking ways. They keep sending suits with briefs down here to collect what they think I owe them. This is my backyard, no pavements of gold here for slops like them.

    A cattle prod up the arse on a dark night is what they get. Wriggling in the mud until the sledgehammer falls.

    Grey matter all over the Dolce & Gabbana, Messy. Still, I find a quality industrial mulcher is the tool of choice in these matters.

    Slops, my pigs love them, Waste not, want not.

    1. Love the practicality, the unfazed-ness of the character. Proper hard and proper scary. Wouldn't want to piss this guy off!

  5. hmmmm, I was sure I had left a comment, then remembered that Blogger refused me entry, so ... Congratulations Aidan, superb story, Col and Nathaniel, brilliant stuff - Lily, how did you manage to choose out of that lot? So many entries, so much good writing!
    Nothing yet, the brain is stifled with mundane things, new tyre, new toothbrush (of the electric variety I hasten to add, before you think I am so consumed by OCD I can't choose a manual one...) groceries, Holland and Barrett 'medication' (not for me) and endless 'paperwork' albeit electronic, for the mass of submissions I have had this week for my anthologies, all first class I have to say. If anyone is interested in being published, check out Static Movement and my list of anthologies, where I am my true self, Dorothy Davies.

  6. right, now for some comments, before Blogger turned silly on me again. It does that, it doesn't like me at all.
    Phil, I've had a few games of Monopoly like that in the past ... good one.
    SK, superb piece of gangland writing.

  7. Okee dokee. Congrats to last weeks winners and runners-up. Well done Lily, for picking them out from some fantastic stuff. This place really does produce some fine scribbles. A great start to the New Year!

    Phil A hard hitting piece to start the proceedings. Nice work!

    S.K. Nice to meet you. A fine debut, with so much detail in so few words. Well done!

  8. Ok, here my effort for the week. I'm hoping that there may be at least one more to come, if not two.

    The Package.

    “All you had to do was collect the package, bring it back and get paid.”

    “It wasn’t that simple. It was a set-up. Someone else knew.”

    “Don’t talk bollocks. It was a simple task that you made a complete sham of. Fuck!”

    “What? You think this apple sized lump on my noggin’ is a fucking sham?”

    A phone rings.

    “What? You sure? It’d better not be some wild fuckin’ goose chase. OK.”


    “You’re in luck.”

    “Don’t even...”

    “OK. We’re in luck. The package has just been seen boarding a train to London.”

    To be continued...


    1. Interesting to do something film-scripty. Also, the use of multiple flash stories to tell a bigger whole appeals. (Can be a real sod trying to get a full blown story in the space!)

  9. Thought it was time I showed up again. Hope you are all good. Congrats to last weeks winners.. nice to see you Col, putting in an appearance.

    philambler - That's dad pushed over the edge then.. not looking good for mum at all.

    S K Adams - Now that is my kind of story, those mulchers sure come in handy.

    David (intoxicated) Barber - Just who was that package boarding with is what I want to know?

    And now for mine -


    “You just have to collect it for fucks sake. How difficult can that be?”

    “It's in a bloody graveyard and you want me to go at night, on my own.”

    “Jeez Cooper. It's a graveyard in the centre of London. How bloody scary can it be?”

    “Come with me.”

    “No chance. I'll call Ezra and have him meet you there.”

    She was starting to wish she was going. Pathetic, whinging bloody man. What had she ever seen in him?

    Still, the sham was almost over. Ezra would have him six feet under before morning came.

  10. Hello

    Antonia Woodville, David Barber and Rosalind Smith-Nazilli

    Thank you for the warm welcome

    Kind regards, S.K

  11. Congratulations to Aidan on his win, I've always admired your work. Nathaniel and Col, I can see how Lily could not choose - both stories were excellent and both struck a cord in me and were in my thoughts for quite sometime.

    philambler - Great story. The father may not have said anything, but he will have the last word.

    S.K.Adams - Welcome and your story Out in the Sticks is very good albeit painful. I cringed when reading about the cattle prod.

    David Barber - Very mysterious. You just had to kill me with the to be continued? I need to know more. I may be wrong, but I believe the package is a person ...

    Rosalind Nice dialogue at the beginning and a twist at the end. Am I the only one that thinks Cooper may survive and come at the pair for revenge?

  12. Party Guest

    Balloons drift limply to the floor; the party decorations hanging haphazard throughout the house. A dazed girl in a torn party dress wanders about, wincing at the loud music. She ignores a platter of congealed London broil on the dining table, making her way to the front door.

    Her head cocks in puzzlement at the bottleneck she finds. Bodies with empty eye sockets that glare red are piled about like pillow shams.

    Softly singing Portishead’s "All Mine" she grabs a jar off the floor, smiling at the eyeballs it contains.

    Marie is a collector and she has only just begun.

    1. Yuck, that's a twisted mind you have there Duckie. The balloons and music really set the scene. Very visual. Nice to see sound being a pronounced factor too.
      If that's her beginning I dread to think of her next stop.

  13. Congratulations Aidan! Well done Nathaniel and Col, Brilliant entries.


    I called him Grunt; because like most teenagers it was the only noise he ever made. You know the type of kid all pimples and Sham 69 T-shirts. The sound of Clash “London calling” was all he heard with his Walkman turned up so loud, he didn’t hear me coming. He struggled at first, his legs flailing like he was tap dancing, till the garrotte did its thing. I told him to collect the package, not look in it. A kiss... such waste! I couldn’t let him live knowing what I am... What I did... and who’s next.

    It’s You!

    1. Another mysterious package - and so soon after Christmas. Getting nervous about next year. Great stuff William. Can just picture the skinny little bastard. I've missed something with 'a kiss... such a waste' though.

  14. I’ve been away for a few weeks but though it high time to rouse myself into action again!

    Congrats to all of last week’s winners, great stories all round.

    And now for the stories from this week:

    Phil – Great line about what she saw Mr Wilson put in her mouth!

    S.K. – Welcome to Lily’s dungeon of despair (or Feardom as she prefers!). Loved the line ‘Wriggling in the mud until the sledgehammer falls.’ Great imagery.

    David – Great ending – hints of the package being of a human nature… or a horse! Those Equine bastards are always stealing the best seats.

    Rosalind – Ah! The useless bastard that is man – no better place for him!

    Muckie – Loved the use of pillow shams and eyeball collections – I ain’t ever going to one of her parties!

    William – Really want to know who the person is now… or what they are… especially if they’re coming after me!

  15. And now for my entry...

    Our Deity’s Desire’s

    They saw him in London, in Paris, New York. He was everywhere. He’d returned to re-claim creation. His traditional white beard soaked with blood. Eyes blackholes in a pockmarked face. Talons where his comforting hands should’ve been and teeth sharp enough to tear a hole in the world.

    Two thousand years and it was all a sham, he wasn’t the saviour he was the trickster, the collector; not for our souls but our flesh. He needed to feed. An ancient hunger, un-satiated through the myths of time; he will eat our bones until we’re dust; until he’s satisfied.

    1. Feels like the start of a great post-apolcalyptic story. Love the notion of us being not only misled by religion, but ambushed by it.

  16. Well done Aiden, Nathaniel and Col.


    London mist descended; a thin layer of duplicity coloured like slate, feeding from the fear and stalking with a predatory silence.

    The air smelled earthy beneath his nose as he worked.

    She spilled for him; corpus with juice.

    He’d seen through her tangled sham; the pleasant clothes and petticoat, and the feather in her hat couldn’t hide the stench of a whore.

    She was still warm as he sliced, and beneath the visceral film, her fetid innards glowed.

    He laid her out as planned; fastidious, hideous.

    He collected her guts and made his way from the sullen darkness of Whitechapel.

    1. I'm thrilled and revolted at the same time. Phenomenal writing AJ. (Now excuse me, I think I'm going to be sick...)

  17. Something To Remember Me By

    You’re really going to leave me, right?
    I really am sorry, but I need her.
    Your London girl. You’re breaking me, you really are!
    We’ve only been together three months, darling!
    That’s long enough to know I want you forever!
    It isn’t going to work between us; you’ve known it’s a sham.
    I know but I hoped... Well, I have a parting gift for you. Here…
    What is it? It looks like…
    It’s part of my collection. A dried up penis. This one’s from the last man who wanted to leave me. I have others... quite a few others...

    1. aaaand stepping away from the scary lady. Please don't hurt me.
      Another good script-story. I just don't want to think about how the collection started, or whether she's begun deliberately seeking out bad-choice boyfriends.

  18. OK, now for comments...
    AJ, good one!!
    Nick, brooding menace in this piece.
    William, I guess someone had to bring the Clash in - before I did - so I had to rethink mine! Great imagery here...
    MuckieDuckie, you and I both with our collections!
    Rosalind, you do 'villain menace' well!
    David, I want to know more...

  19. Phil Seems like mum might have that glint in her eye when Dads Finished. I love Dads understated Vengeance very powerful.
    S.K. Adams Hi s.K. Great Debut, Particularly loved the line "Grey matter all over the Dolce & Gabbana, Messy."
    David SOunds like the package carries a punch, looking forward to the next installment.
    Rosalind Coopers gonna cop it. I loved how cooper gets set up.
    Muckie Duckie I often listen to portishead when I'm writing. You've developed a nice little character there look forward to hearing more from her.
    Nick That's a powerful piece, he will never be satisfied will he?
    AJ You can't beat a bit of Jack, great descriptives loved it.
    Antonia Ouch! I'm lost for words, I shall not sleep tonight for listening for the creaking stair.

  20. MuckieDuckie - Ooh, interesting picture you paint - all those sightless bodies.

    William - Poor Grunt - I dread to think what was in that package.

    Nick - You are the master of description.

    AJ - That's our Jack. Beautifully written as always.

    Antonia - Yuck, what a ghastly thought.

  21. Bit of a dash tonight, so I'll post my story now and do my comments tomorrow...


    'I don't expect you to understand my Art, not yet. Just watch.'

    Arthritic fingers work with practised speed. I can't take my eyes from it, though God knows I've seen this sham before.

    ' in the London Blitz. Hope! Such a resilient thing, the human spirit...'
    (A cracked record from a slim collection.)

    My heart's beyond hurting but I pity the wretch on the table. Bertie slurps her eyelids down as she weeps.

    The stone is placed, the binding invoked.

    '...and sculpture is so fleeting...'

    Eventually the stone is seated in her niche.

    We watch. It's all we can do.

  22. Bloody copy paste thing!

    "'Sham', that's an anagram of 'mash', isn't?" he asked.

    "I guess so," she replied, dressing, as the morning sun rose. "What’s that got to do with anything?"

    "It's just I'm going to London today to collect the body."

    "I see," she murmured. "Do you think they'll suspect anything?"


    "No. Them."

    "Cufk them. They won't suspect a tihgn," he replied, mysteriously.

    Now dressed, she paced the room, wishing the windows were a little smaller and the sun less bright.

    “Will you be back tonight?”

    “No, my love. Tomorrow.”

    “Thank goodness for that,” she thought - for he was a fucking weirdo.

    1. Hah! Wry and just a little bit crazy. I'd like to know more about this freaky guy and the backdrop to this situation.

  23. A brief hiatus in my hectic life to post some comments on the tasty entries above:

    SK - Welcome and a great piece to start with. As someone who grew up on a farm, it's great to see the farmer getting one up on the city boys.

    David - nice twist. Didn't realise what the package was until the end. Looking forward to reading what happens next.

    Rosalind - what a vicious way to finish a relationship and calculated too. Makes it all the more sinister knowing it's planned.

    Muckie - The power of this story is what happened before the opening line revealed in the carnage we see during the piece. Teasing details hint at a monstrous power within Marie. Love this.

    William - what was in the package. I assume the narrator but what/who are they!! Intriguing.

    Nick - very dark piece. How often history can make a deity out of someone; depends who's telling the tell. I liked this.

    AJ - and Jack's back ripping his way through the Feardom. A disturbing scene shrouded in fact.

    Antonia - I think I might have dated her. Grisly collection with a cloying possessiveness.

    Dion - an apprentice watching a master of his art? What dark lessons there are to be told.

    Stu - that last line made me chuckle :-) Want to know more about the back story here.

  24. Realised fundamental error in my story based on Phil's comment. Hope it's not to cheeky to fix and re-post, but this should make things clearer.


    '...don't expect you to understand my Art, not yet. Just watch.'

    Arthritic fingers work with practised speed. I can't take my eyes from it, though God knows I've seen this sham before.

    ' the London Blitz. Hope! Such a resilient thing, the human spirit...'
    (A cracked record from a slim collection.)

    My heart's beyond hurting but I pity the wretch on the table. Bertie slurps her eyelids down as she weeps.

    The stone is placed, the binding invoked.

    '...and sculpture is so fleeting...'

    Eventually the stone's seated in her niche next to mine.

    We watch. It's all we can do.

  25. Love you all!!

    Have been busy on the novel this week, so despicably negligent here. But you know I'll be back for a comment frenzy before closing time tomorrow.

    Here's my effort, which I really enjoyed writing, I must say. Back to what I love.


    Label me ‘The Collector.’ I gather them; half-bred, half-dead souls that sojourn in the darkness beside the mighty Thames. All of them echoes of London.

    We wander, evanescent in a sham parade. I raise my crop to whip us into a gallop, to return us to the waves as horses riding the waters. Only I can see the ghosts that fly at my side. We are one, swarming at the bridges, catching the eye of the high - and the mighty - in Parliament’s towers.

    They allow me to free them.

    Their pierced skins fade to grey.

    Released like butterflies.

    1. Intruiging, beautiful and eerie. Is the Collector helping or harming these ghosts? How aware are they of all this, were they ghosts when he collected them or (as i suspect) does he... complete the process?

    2. And what makes you think The Collector is a 'he'?

      Yes, (s)he aids the death process, believing it salvation.

      Might have to take this entity forwards - I have a half-jotted down novel idea this would fit into.

  26. Burning rubber

    The whole thing is a sham!
    You bring me here, to this stinking pit, and expect me to pay good money for this?
    Look at her. She’s at least ten years old, for God’s sake. How am I supposed to get a client interested? How can I say she’s fresh and unsullied when she’s obviously been … well let’s say, used.
    Your cheap foreign imports, pah! You make come all the way to London to collect, and tell me it’s a bargain?

    You got any photos of when she was clean? I always was a sucker for a classic motorcycle.

    1. Neat trick to play on us Kim, horrid and funny. Show's how much of the darkness we bring to stories ourselves as readers.

  27. Lily, what's happened to the comments section???

    1. Do you mean its appearance? I don't know - another Blogger 'improvement', I guess - but lookie - I can now reply to your comment direct.

    2. Cool! As can I reply to yours! :-)

  28. Before I go into more comments, I wanted to let you all know that I'm the Author Spotlight - under my real name Amber Taitague - for 5x5 Issue Four: Smoke! The issue has been up and running since the beginning of this week.

    William - I want to know more with this. There was something in the lines The sound of Clash "London calling" was all he heard with his Walkman turned up so loud, he didn't hear me coming. Must be speaking to my inner paranoid.

    Nick - Wow ... this hit me. I really like the picture you paint, so much said with so little.

    AJ - Dark and horrible written so beautifully.

    Antonia - I don't know what this says about me but I laughed when it came she revealed her collection. I must say, she is my kind of girl. Very funny story.

    Stu - Pure torment, little details that hint at a bigger picture, will there be more?

    Dion - Comments for the proper Beholder. I read the first one quite a few times, before I got what I think you meant. Poor souls, trapped forever with their Artist and can't warn anyone else. Really enjoyed it.

    Lily - Such strong imagery here, especially We are one, swarming at the bridges, ... I loved this piece and wonder if you'll take us on another ride in the future. Good luck with the novel, congrats on the 3 hours from yesterday, right?

    Kim - When I first started reading Burning rubber my heart dropped and my stomach clenched. By the time I read the last line I laughed in relief. Jerking me around, how could you? Really, great story.

  29. Phil, now that IS terrifying. I wonder if there are any statistics on how many people have been attacked or worse playing a board game. Of course here, this was just waiting to happen. Scary.

    S.K. Adams, hello there! Thanks for joining in. I love this tale of rural retribution. Nothing like a "cattle prod up the arse" and some hungry pigs to get a great story going. A well-written tale.

    David, fabulous dialogue here. I was running with the pace of it - the tension screams off the screen. You threw us in so far then wickedly stole it away; can't wait for that continuation!

    Rosie, welcome back! Ha - you are so good at those last lines. What fabricated item is Cooper being sent to collect, I wonder? Ezra - great name; one of those Dickensian Quaker types.

    Amber (MD), congrats on the 5x5 Author Spotlight! I just adore Party Guest and how it slips from an apparent hungover post-party wake-up to something much, much nastier with the blind corpses and the eyeball collection. I have an eye infection at the moment (very glam); hopefully it'll put Marie off slipping mine into a jar ;-)

    William, so much to this chilling assault of a tale. What's wrapped up? What does it do? Who does the kissing - and shit I'm gonna run like hell if I'm next! Bizarro; really enjoyed it.

    Nick, glad you're ...erm... roused! Oh, I do like this messianic vision. It throws up a William Blake/Bosch screamscape of horror that would terrify millions. "...he will eat our bones until we’re dust" is just gorgeous.

    AJ, "She spilled for him; corpus with juice" has to be one of the best lines - ever. Truly. This is such a sensorial Ripper piece; the stink of the ground, the heat of her body... Wonderful writing.

    Antonia, tee hee. That might make him think again! It's a fun conversation with her not wanting to give him up - and then I could immediately visualise that dried-up evidence of why he should stay.

    Dion, "slurps her eyelids down" - stunning. Are we to assume the observer is actually physically unable "can't" to take his eyes from the scene? I am filled with questions, like of a nightmare you want to forget but can't leave it alone. Tell us more, do.

    Stu, love this mishmash of letters and words, and the casual way they converse about something dark and dangerous. What really got me was '“Thank goodness for that,” she thought - for he was a fucking weirdo.' Had me choking on me PG Tips. :-)

    Kim, you trickster! There was me thinking you'd served something seedy and 'orrible up on this nasty little plate - only to find it's all legit. I have to say - phew! Clever.

  30. Ça suffit, mes amis. No more entries tonight please - but comments are still very welcome.

    As usual, winners and new words in the morning.

    Good night!

  31. Thanks Lily,

    Plucking up the courage to enter is the key ingredient,among such excellent writers. I enjoyed reading all the entries this week.

    Kind regards to all.



    They buried the babies first. As each small body was lowered into the ground, they wept.

    The mission to evacuate women and children had failed. Their unit had arrived too late, and the slaying was over.

    Not a living soul remained. Every woman and every child had been a victim of this atrocity. The men were long gone.

    As they gripped the ruby encrusted handles of the blades, signs of such opulence, and pulled them from the bodies of the slaughtered innocents, each of them silently wondered to himself what kind of men could murder their own wives and children.

  33. Had real difficulty posting that today..

    Some wonderful stories... Will try to get back later and comment..xx

  34. Cleansing.

    Kayla wielded her blade with skill as she sliced through the herds of stampeding men trying to evacuate their prison through one small door. They came in bursts and were taken down fast; the cleaners struggled to keep up with the bodies as she felled one after another.

    The weakest fell underfoot and were trampled; the fitter ones tried to fight but were defeated in seconds. Those that passed were caught in the raging fires behind her and burned to nothing.

    Job done, she departed leaving only ruby rivers of blood meandering through the cobbles which the cleaners would take care of.


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.